Our Blog

Hair - The Original London Cast (1970)





Na początku może pewne wyjaśnienie. Zdecydowałem się na zaprezentowanej wersji angielskiej ponieważ nigdy nie przepadałem za amerykańską. Ta wydaje mi się bardziej drapieżna i surowa.

Musical "Hair" został napisany przez dwóch bezrobotnych aktorów, Jamesa Rado i Gerome'a Ragni'ego, którzy pragnęli ukazać atmosferę panującą w amerykańskich miastach w późnych latach 60-tych XX wieku; "cudowne podniecenie", które "czuło się na ulicach", jak powiedział James Rado. To "podniecenie" spowodowane było nowym ruchem społecznym - subkulturą hippisów, którzy szczególnie mocno sprzeciwiali się wojnie w Wietnamie. Cytując "Hair", była to wojna, podczas której "biali wysyłają czarnych do walki z żółtymi, by bronić ziemi, którą ukradli czerwonym".

Autorzy musicalu nie mogli znaleźć producenta, który wystawiłby ich musical na Broadwayu, przyjęli więc propozycję Josepha Pappa, by pokazać "Hair" na New York Shakespeare Festival. Tak oto zadebiutował na scenie musical, który okazał się kamieniem milowym w historii swego gatunku.

Producent Michael Butler obejrzał przedstawienie i spodobało mu sie głównie ze względu na przesłanie polityczne. Dzięki niemu "Hair" przeniesiono na Broadway, do Biltmore Theatre (premiera 29 kwietnia 1968). Był to wielki sukces.

"Hair" to sztuka o miłości, potrzebie pokoju i szczęścia oraz o absurdalnych decyzjach politycznych, które to szczęście niszczą. Dlatego też "Hair" zawsze będzie aktualny... co w gruncie rzeczy jest faktem smutnym - zwłaszcza dziś, kiedy agresywna polityka USA wciąż potwierdza, że niektóre rzeczy nigdy się nie zmieniają...

Historia przyjaźni grupy hipisów zdecydowanie różniła się od większości produkcji scenicznych drugiej połowy lat sześćdziesiątych. Przyjęta została jako artystyczna i obyczajowa rewolucja. Prowokowała nagością odtwórców głównych ról, jak i usankcjonowaniem w teatrze buntowniczego rocka.

Zakorzeniona w epoce długowłosych dzieci-kwiatów opowieść miała premierę w nowojorskim Biltmore Theatre w 1968 roku. Na broadwayowską scenę przemycała niespotykaną tu wcześniej, bolesną tematykę: rasizm, ubóstwo, narkotyki. Afirmowała wolną miłość wolność i pokój, co dla kultywujących konserwatywne obyczaje obywateli USA okazało się poznawczym szokiem.

Rewelacyjna muzyka Galta MacDermota wytrzymała próbę czasu. "Aquarius", "Good Morning Starshine", "Let the Sunshine In" (libretto i teksty piosenek: Gerome Ragni i James Rado) i inne przeboje, są nadal obecne w repertuarach kolejnych pokoleń młodych wokalistów. Do utrwalenia legendy musicalu przyczynił się też Miloš Forman, kręcąc z końcem lat siedemdziesiątych swój kultowy film "Hair".


Gerome Ragni, Viva, James Rado

James Rado is at the heart and root of the origin. In his early teens he knew what he wanted to do, his dream, to write a Broadway musical. He had become a fan of the genre, and he made first stabs at writing one. In college he majored in Speech & Drama and became a songwriter. He co-authored 2 musical shows at the University of Maryland: "INTERLUDE" and, a year later, "INTERLUDE 2." After graduation, followed by two years in the U.S.Navy, he returned to school in Washington, D.C. for graduate work at Catholic University, where he co-authored a musical revue called "CROSS YOUR FINGERS." He wrote the lyrics and music for all his songs. He moved to New York City, but it would be another 10 years before he would write a fourth musical for the stage. (During that intervening decade, besides holding down a "make-a-living" job, he wrote pop songs and recorded his own band, known as "James Alexander and the Argyles," and he began to study acting in earnest.) Upon meeting Gerome Ragni, he saw some of Jerry's poetic writings and asked him to collaborate on a new show. They began a voluminous creation. One day they were in the Whitney Museum of Art on Madison Avenue, going from painting to painting, when they came upon a rather unique one by an American artist, Jim Dine. Looking to see the name of it, Jim Rado said to Jerry Ragni, "What an odd title for a painting...Hair." Several months later they found that title most apropos for the show they were writing about hippiedom and the troubles of America.

HAIR's world debut was in New York City in October 1967, off-Broadway, on the heels of the Summer of Love. Jerry and I had written HAIR for the uptown big theatre audiences. It was designed to invade Broadway territory, but we couldn't get a tumble from any of the Broadway producers. "Not our cup of tea," they would say. We retreated from our firm intention, in response to an offer of a 6-week run for HAIR as the opening attraction at a new theater. The old Astor Library, gutted and under fresh construction, became The New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater, and the producer Joseph Papp chose HAIR to be the premiere presentation in his experimental space, the Anspacher Theater. (Papp had produced free Shakespeare in Central Park for years, but was now branching out, to embrace the excitement of the avant garde theater movement.) Quite a wonderful opportunity, we thought; if we couldn't get HAIR on-Broadway, at least we could jump-start it downtown in the Joseph Papp spotlight of a new New York theater, in the East Village at that, where the play itself was set. As directed by Gerald Freedman, with choreography by Anna Sokolow, the "Public" proved to be a perfect "out-of-town tryout."



A guy from Washington, D.C. (James Rado) and a kid from Pittsburgh. Pa. (Gerome Ragni) met in New York City when they were cast together in a new off-Broadway endeavor, HANG DOWN YOUR HEAD AND DIE, a musical revue whose theme was Capital Punishment. Following the shortest run in show biz (one night), the two young men continued their friendship and soon set out to write their own show, a musical they entitled HAIR. The two became three when they joined up with a cat from Montreal, Canada (Galt MacDermot) who had settled into the New York area to live and who set their songs to music.

HAIR was created as an original idea by Gerome Ragni (Jerry) and, myself, James Rado (Jim). We collaborated on the story, text, characters, dialogue and lyrics beginning in late 1964, continuing over the years 1965, 1966 and 1967. From the start, I envisioned that the score of HAIR would be something new for Broadway, a kind of pop rock/showtune hybrid. At first we had considerable difficulty finding a composer; we rejected several, until finally, in late 1966, we found the man to make the music for our songs. It was a case of love at first sound. Meeting the composer, Galt MacDermot, was more than a fulfillment of our dream. I would call it a clear illustration of a marriage made in heaven.

The show opened at the Public Theater and began to stir some excitement, earning largely favorable reviews, with a great one from Clive Barnes (who had some reservations mixed in with his praise), lead critic of the New York Times. Downtown (even without the "nude scene") HAIR proved to be a very warm ticket.



But after a 6-week run, Joseph Papp was done with it. He really didn't envision the future for it that the authors did. He had to get on with his successive productions, each one to run 6 weeks. Besides, no show had ever gone from off-Broadway to Broadway before. Still Jerry and I were determined and knew that somehow, some way, we would find someone who would be able to help us move it uptown to the George M. Cohan Great White Way. Sure enough, a man from Chicago, Michael Butler, had caught a performance of HAIR at the Public. He was attracted to it by the Public Theater poster with the picture of five American Indians on it. He thought HAIR would be about Native Americans, a subject he was interested in. He didn't know the show was about hippiehood, but he took it in and liked it so much that, although he had never been a producer of theatricals before, expressed the desire to move the Public Theater production to the Cheetah Discotheque in midtown Manhattan. We liked the idea...it would get us geographically closer to Broadway. The 3 of us gave him the rights to produce HAIR at Cheetah. This was a direct transfer of the Public Theater production, except that it had to start at an unorthodox curtain time of 7:30pm (B'way was 8:30 in those days), and it had to play without an intermission, straight through, so the disco-dancing could begin at 10pm. Barbra Streisand and Otto Preminger, the famous movie director, were among a hefty list of celebrities who now visited the Cheetah to see HAIR. I was ouside the performance area and witnessed Preminger leaving the show early, huffing and puffing through the lobby, with "I want an intermission, I want an intermission!" When that engagement finally lumbered to a close, Jerry, Galt and I had an adventurous plan. Based on what we saw on the Public Theater and Cheetah stages, Jerry and I had rewritten the text, and, with Galt, had added 13 new songs, expanding the score from 20 to 33 numbers. At first, Butler wanted to move the production from the Cheetah, as is, to a Broadway theater. But he soon found out how determined Jerry and I were. We wanted a new director whom we had chosen, Tom O'Horgan. We wanted casting to be done all over again. We wanted new designers, and, most assuredly, we wanted the rewritten, restructured, expanded script of HAIR to be done. Mr. Butler, a first-time producer, walked away from our proposal, probably figuring it would be too expensive for one thing. We started peddling the new script to uptown producers again, and a week later Michael called us to say he was agreeable to the new re-conceptualization.

Working with Tom O'Horgan, and a new choreographer, Julie Arenal, and what was largely a new Tribe of actors (six people from the off-Broadway production made it to Broadway: Paul Jabara, Sally Eaton, Shelley Plimpton, Linda Compton, Suzannah Norstrand and Gerome Ragni), we installed and experimented with the new script of HAIR. Tom used various "sensitivity exercises," some of which had been developed by the Chicagoan Viola Spolin, and some Open Theater techniques were employed as well. The Tribe was taught how and encouraged to work organically with us on the material. It was a very exciting, smooth-going, yet tumultuous, rehearsal process. We opened at the Biltmore Theatre on April 29, 1968 (6 months after off-Broadway), and Clive Barnes, who had some reservations about the off-Broadway version, raved about our transformative work, which was hugely gratifying. For the most part, the critics hurrahed. HAIR was a hit! (James Rado, hairthemusical.com)

link in comments

The Savage Saints Designed by Templateism | Blogger Templates Copyright © 2014

Autor obrazów szablonu: richcano. Obsługiwane przez usługę Blogger.